East Side youth nonprofit gets a Wild nod

Urban Roots interns got to promote the organization at a Minnesota Wild game on Thursday, Jan. 7. The team has named Urban Roots as the charity of the month. (photo courtesy of Urban Roots)
Urban Roots interns got to promote the organization at a Minnesota Wild game on Thursday, Jan. 7. The team has named Urban Roots as the charity of the month. (photo courtesy of Urban Roots)

East Side youth-based farming nonprofit Urban Roots will get a big nod this month from the Minnesota Wild, the state’s professional hockey team.

The organization applied for and won a grant to be the team’s “Charity of the Month.”

Rather than a monetary grant, the deal creates visibility for Urban Roots, by featuring the organization on the team’s website, Wild.com, in social media posts, and in the team’s monthly game magazine.

In addition, four teenage Urban Roots interns attended a Wild game on Thursday, Jan. 7, against the Philadelphia Flyers in order to promote the organization.

At the game, they ran a booth with information about the organization, asking game attendees to guess different Wild players’ favorite vegetables.

During an intermission, a video promoting Urban Roots was also played on the arena screens for all fans to watch.

Patsy Noble, director of Urban Roots, says the organization pursued working with the Minnesota Wild because it highlights the youth they work with, and it can help draw new people to the organization, either as donors, volunteers, or as customers.

The organization runs a 35-share garden, where customers receive weekly supplies of vegetables grown in St. Paul by Urban Roots teen interns during the growing season.

The bread and butter of the organization’s work is employing 60 kids every summer for a 10-week program, and another 14 in a year-round academic program.

The interns can do one of three summer programs:

• A market garden program, where they tend six urban gardens and two beehives, harvesting 13,000 pounds of produce to donate, use in a cooking class, and sell at the Mill City Farmer’s Market as well as to restaurants and the Minnesota Twins

• A cooking and wellness program, where they use produce grown by other interns to learn about healthy meal preparation and nutrition while working in a commercial kitchen with Urban Roots staff and visiting chefs.

• A conservation program, where they learn about natural resource management. The interns travel by bike to urban green spaces and help restore parkland, install rain gardens, and engage in citizen science projects including insect surveys and water sampling.

Urban Roots, formerly the Community Development Corporation, has been around on the East Side for 30 years. The program has historically worked with and continues to work with East Side youth to provide hands-on learning experiences.

— Patrick Larkin

 

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